This auto-fictitious narrative is an existential and political exploration of scholarly identity transformation of a teacher educator in academia. Set within a parallel, metaphorical kingdom, identity is examined through the author’s actions, interactions and experiences with others in a fictional setting. Narratives, in storytelling formats, establish agency of self and provide “voice” to be freely expressed, most notably for those who experience marginalization where their thoughts and ideas have been mitigated within traditional institutional environments and dialogues. Expressed in a humorous, somewhat deliberately mischievous manner, the polyphonic self in this story reflects on relational power and academic identity within the university environment. This descriptive piece adds discussion to existing organizational research through presentation of a fictional piece for examining how one may self-construct identity within a hegemonic work setting.
I work with the concept of apparatuses of material storytelling as a way to study the enactment of ‘the future school’. The article analyses a project at a school that involved students, teachers and leaders building models for learning spaces to inspire the architect who were to design a new building for grades 4-6. The analysis is theoretically informed by ‘new materialist thinking’. The analysis show how the project, while producing differentiated learning spaces and ideas about the learning student, configures and reconfigures the organization known as ‘a school’ in ways that highlight contemporary problems concerning authority, management and the constitution of ‘the student’, in an education system which is increasingly focused on learning-centred educational management on the students desire and motivation for learning.
Increasingly, organization and communication scholars are paying critical attention to the materiality work/life. In this vein, this paper explores the connections between job segregation, object relations, and the performance of work belongings. In particular, it speaks into the question: how do object relations constitute segregated job belongings? Drawing on data from a year-long, comparative ethnography of barbers and hairstylists, the analysis focuses on barbershop and hair salon mirrors and the complex relations produced by barbers’ avoidance and hairstylists’ engagement of this common object. Specifically, these object relations were found to not only differentiate job belongings, but also materialize erotics (pains and/or pleasures) in the constitution of job segregation. The paper closes with implications of these findings for studies of materiality, especially in terms of how object relations and pleasures summon and segregate working bodies and jobs.
The purpose of this paper is to improve our understanding of how discursive practices are related to the sense of reality and materiality. It does not present ways of filling absences in storied fragmented and polyphonic lives, but rather offers a methodology of listening to what people say and do not say. It suggests the use of a multilayered theoretical framework only to listen to what is supposedly lived and experienced in discursive practices. The work produced by the researcher relies partly on what people do not say, and the researchers’ interpretative criteria of discursive practices in the material realm involve challenging normality and hegemonic discourses. There are implications for organizational storytelling. The paper suggests that the reader can become aware of material contextual structures in storytelling by taking consideration of the influences of the sense of reality of material discursive practices in the theory of storytelling, as well as the perceived value and risks in its use.
This special issue of TAMARA focuses on a new emerging field of storytelling informed among others by recent theoretical instigations in science studies (Barad, 2007) that matter matters.
As such, the double special issue highlights in various ways on the manner by which matter comes to matter in organizational story processes. Taking storytelling and discursive practices into the material realm raises the question of the agency of matter to the extent that matter is placed as an agential-force equivalent to that of human agency. This constitutes a profound conceptual shift well worth exploring in greater depth.
Drawing on various aspects of the new material feministic turn, the turn to affect, to space and to ontology the shift is not so much a turning ‘away from’, as a ‘turn towards’ the working of a different difference. A difference of meaning- mattering and material-discursiveness. A difference therefore of reworking previously constituted binaries. In short - a difference, constituted by a reorientation (Shotter, 2011) more than any specific theorizing.
Inquiring into this reorientation, this special issue of TAMARA specifically aims at throwing light on the relationship of organizational discursive practices and material (artifactual, bodily, spatial) practices in relation to understanding and dealing with processes of organizational development, learning and change, and organizational inquiry.
Organization and functional differentiation are considered key principles of modern societies. Yet, within organizational studies little research has been conducted on the interplay of function systems, organizations, and society. The few existing studies suppose trends to more functional polyphony. The cases presented in this article, however, support the idea that organizational multifunctionality is the standard case rather than a special case of organization. It is furthermore shown that organizations can change their function system preference and that the translation between function systems can be an organization’s main function. A Google Ngram view on functional differentiation finally furthers the idea that changes of function system preferences are not only a matter of individual organizations, but also a matter of entire societies.
This paper proposes an alternative approach towards ethical leadership. Recent research tells us that socioeconomic and cultural differences affect moral intuition, making it difficult to locate a guiding organizational principle. Nevertheless, in this paper I attempt to open an alternative path towards an ethics that might serve as a guide for leaders – especially leaders who are leading a highly professionalized workforce. Using the Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño and the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze as points of reference, I develop an ethical form of leadership that is based on a continuous ‘poetic’ dialogue between creation and affirmation. The nature of this dialogue requires a leadership approach that plays both a courageous and imaginative role in liberating its workforce. Last, I develop a frame which provides the constituent principles of leading in the direction of an ethical organization.
This article contributes to the on-going debate among scholars of organizational identity on collective and polyphonic identity formation processes. The article explores the interplay between individual and organizational storytelling by conceptualizing organizational identity construction processes as a web of storytelling practices, a memory system evoking a sense of coherence and nostalgia among organizational members. By drawing on the results of a narrative and ethnographic case study of a consultancy, the article aims to unfold the web of stories and storytelling practices in a single case organization. The analysis explores how members of this organization, through their everyday storytelling practices, created shared understandings of being members of a fantastic company while simultaneously telling critical counterstories. The analysis shows how organizational members learned to shape not only their stories of success but also their counterstories in ways that made them harmonize with the storytelling traditions of the organization. Furthermore, the concept of personal polyphony is suggested to describe how everyday work stories are antenarrative in the sense that the construction of self, work and the organization is never finished; it is an ongoing process of negotiating and handling many potential and sometimes contradictory storylines simultaneously.
This paper serves two purposes. First, a rereading of Douglas McGregor’s An uneasy look at performance appraisal serves to show how McGregor’s conceptualization of commitment as a question of integrating personal goals with organizational purpose has helped shape founding the modern understanding of corporate community representation. Second, we suggest that French philosopher Gilles Deleuze’s concepts of fold, desire and interests can be useful in comprehending this modern form of corporate representation already present in McGregor’s text.
This paper sets out to analyse the concept of a broad multi-paradigmatic approach, combining different cognitive perspectives, drawn from the social sciences and the humanities. It presents various issues of organizational culture: critics of functionalism in organizational culture concepts, interpretativist approach to organizational culture, critical perspective of organizational culture, organizational culture management methods (comparison of fundamentalism, pluralism, eclecticism, and methodological anarchy). The theory of culture in management and the attempt at presenting ways of studying its changes presented in this paper indicate that there are multiple diverse concepts. The complexity of the theory is a derivative of the problems related to the notion of culture. The multiplicity of concepts results from the fact that researchers assume different paradigms.
Habitus, whether it is labeled as such or as managerial/organizational socialization or culture, acts as the principle means of control among white collar professional workers within organizations. Others have argued that the principle task of the business school curriculum is to instill anticipatory socialization of trans-organizational regimes in traditional age undergraduate students. This paper takes a Bourdieusian perspective on both the issues of governmentality and the inculcation of appropriate habitus in traditional age undergraduates, and examines in particular how that part of the undergraduate curriculum that consists of textbooks, lectures and management case studies focus on one particular element of this general managerial habitus, specifically, the inculcation of a new linguistic habitus that both shapes how these proto-managers both speak about and begin to view the world.
This article explores Jacques Derrida’s notion of friendship and extends towards a quantum understanding of friendship derived from an ethics of mattering (Barad, 2007). It inscribes itself into an uncommon vocabulary in the organization and management literature. Yet we believe that the notion of friendship is a crucial dimension of organizations but none-theless is often not recognized here.
Building on past studies that assert that novels provide pedagogical promise as well as organizational insight for students and managers, we take up Simone de Beauvoir’s classic novel Les Mandarins which questions the meaning and value of literature to act as a form of resistance and activism, especially on behalf of the working class. We point out that ‘the workers’ are both present and absent in the novel, as they are the central point of discussion and yet no working class characters are developed within the pages of the novel. We address this as a rhetorical/literary device - accessoire-indispensable-mais-camouflé or more succinctly, the essential accessory, which future studies might invoke in assessing organizational practices.
This article analyzes the construction of leadership identities through stories found in four narrative interviews from a qualitative study and leadership development project based on social constructionism and action learning. We argue that leadership development and the construction of leadership identities in a postmodern paradigm are based on the negotiation and co-construction of meanings, relationships, and stories. The following questions are investigated: What happens when a group of leaders from different organizations construct, deconstruct, and reconstruct their identity as leaders through narrative interviews about their challenges as leaders? In addition, how do these discursive constructions restrict or enable new perspectives, other voices, and the possibilities for learning and change? Our analysis identified traces of both modern and postmodern leadership discourses. We suggest that the concept of coauthoring is useful in developing leadership and leadership identities through reflexive dialogs and emerging stories.
This paper is intended as a tribute to Andrzej Zawiślak, one of the precursors of systems approach to organization theory in Poland. More specifically, we highlight four recurring themes in his work: bridging academic-practitioner gap by studying systemic paradoxes, theorizing about organizations as complex human systems, reflection on the role of university in its social context, and scepticism towards rationality of social science. We believe that Zawiślak’s unique voice deserves to be heard and may serve as a fruitful starting point for theorizing about organizations.
Exploration of our organisational life has much to gain from fiction so as to reflexively engage with provisional processes of uncertainty, doubt and paradox. These are often neglected qualities of how we go on together in our organizational lives. Taking an autoethnographic approach I present one narrative of a fraught meeting that I was part of to explore my leadership development. I do this in relation to Homer, Shakespeare and AllenPoe to explore leadership issues of: paradox and how we become enmeshed in unfolding events; the interaction between a leader’s future intent and how this plays out in action. In doing this I offer an invitation to explore literature that speaks to and develops our practice of leadership and how we might develop and communicate useful insights.
This manuscript describes a qualitative evaluation of a particular non-profit organization that helps veterans experiencing homelessness. We propose that individuals experiencing homelessness need to modify their narrative identity (through restorying), and that four resource domains (economic, material, interpersonal and individual) are needed to help individuals experiencing homelessness to re-identify themselves. To this end, the studied nonprofit organization provides a good model for providing individualized services that cover the full range of required resources as well as the opportunity to modify individual narratives.
Organizational and individual identities are well-established research areas. One strand of research argues in favor of applying narrative as a theoretical lens for exploring organizational and individual identity. Rooted in a narrative conceptualization, the purpose of this study is to analyze and discuss how employees at a dairy cooperative simultaneously construct their individual identities and the identity of their organization. Based on bservations of employees’ practices as they narrate the cooperative to an external audience, the different subject positions assigned by employees to themselves and the organization are explored. The exploration sheds light on how the interplay between individual and organizational identities manifests as part of everyday narrative practice. The study thus contributes with insight into the complex nature of identity construction and argues that if the identity construction of individual and organization is to be fully understood, we have to explore them as separate, yet inseparable, entities.
This paper proposes a communicative and constitutive theoretical framework to explore the embodiment of the alternative in an alternative university. It responds to a call to deepen the approaches of alternative organizations and to apply the constitutive approach of communication to organizational phenomena. Through the close study of ongoing communicational practices, this paper aims to explore how a communicational approach and Tarde’s three rules of repetition, opposition and adaptation could disclose what it means to be alternative on a daily basis. By undertaking an organizational ethnography of an alternative college in the United States, this paper explores how the alternative is embodied.